Friday, November 14, 2008

Lunch Bucket

Surprise! Guess what this is? Did you say another sunset from Gwynn's Island? How did you know?

Continuing on the topic of old expressions that are soon fading away, I'd like to focus on lunch, dinner and lunch boxes, or as my grandmother called it, a lunch bucket. (Some people would call it a lunch pail.)

First, did you know that at one time lunch was dinner and dinner was supper? Don't ask me when they used the term lunch, I have no idea. But whenever my grandmother, and often my mother, told us to come eat dinner, it was lunchtime. And when they called us to supper, it was dinner.

Make sense? Clear as mud? Let's look at it another way:

Breakfast: Presumably was called Breakfast
Lunch: Was called Dinner.
Dinner: Was and still is called supper by many.


Now on to the topic of lunch boxes, which were called dinner buckets and later lunch buckets. Why? Because way back when people took their lunches (aka dinner) to school, and they toted it in a pail or a bucket.

I know some of you are saying, "This Chesapeake Bay Woman character really has her facts all wrong. She is confused and incorrect as usual."

Ordinarily I'd agree wholeheartedly.

But I offer the following excerpt from a book called Island History and Progress, News Items About Gwynn's Island, Virginia, from the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette Journal:

"September 15, 1955:
....Mr. Foster....reminisced, mentioning many old friends and neighbors who were classmates.

"...He described the two-room school building of 1898. Here they used 10-cent slates and wrote with pencils which were two to a penny. The children carried a round tin dinner bucket containing a can of black molasses, two cold biscuits and a sweet potato. He compared this with what the children of today have."

Indeed! If I sent Chesapeake Bay Children to school with black strap molasses and a sweet potato in a bucket, they'd be on the phone, post haste, to the nice people with the padded van and the straight jacket.

So, while I won't actually use a bucket to pack their lunch in, I will--just to keep them on their toes--often tell them to put their lunch buckets in the kitchen when they get home from school. It always gets a response or a reaction, but so far they haven't picked up that phone.

So far.


Grandma J said...

Yeah, we went from lunch bucket to lunch pail, then lunch bag.

We also said dinner for our midday meal on weekends when it was the main meal of the day. The evening meal was always supper...or as Rita would say, with her New England accent, suppah!

You really need to put a calendar together of all your sunsets and sunrises.

Bayman said...

A couple I always heard growing up on the island was corn on the cobb= "roasten ears" and squash= "simlins."

One day while having lunch in the Seabreeze, sitting at the long table that is shared by all, I had a conversation with a relative who farmed. He was known as "Boozie" to close friends and family.

BM: Boozie, gettin' any roasten ears?

Boozie: Startin' to see a few, come get you a mess.

Across the table sat a "come here" family in stunned disbelief, who must have thought they had entered the Tower of Babel. They had no clue as they looked at us and then at each other.

I hope no Mexican sweet potatoes were transported in the lunch buckets.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - You need to write another Rita story....

BM - I'm reasonably sure there may be something awry with the drinking water over there...simlins? I wonder how they came up with that? I can understand roastin ears, but simlins? Also, Boozie? Surely there's a story behind that descriptive name.

Anonymous said...

Lunch was Dinner only on Sundays at our house growing up. Rest of the week, it was Breakfast, Lunch and Supper.

Bayman - we had Roastin' Ears growing up in Central PA, too. And a "mess" was usually green beans from the garden, or peas. A mess of beans. Heh!

Mental P Mama said...

I would actually love some biscuits with some black strap and a sweet potato. But then, I am a redneck from Tennessee passing as a Yankee in Connecticut. And now I am starving.

Anonymous said...

Dear CBW,

I have it on good authority, from a friend New-Pointer, that it is breakfast-dinner-supper, NOT breakfast-lunch-dinner.

His rationale?:

Did Jesus eat the "Last Dinner"? no he did not, he ate the "Last Supper"! If it was good enough for him, it's good enough for us Mathews-countymen!

take care~

anonymous Mathews native

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Soup - Roastin Ears? You too? I'm really starting to wonder about this Mathews - Central PA connection...

MPM - We'll put some molasses and sweet potato in your welcome basket when you come for your visit.

AMN - Thank you for that confirmation, and excellent point about the last supper. Now, can you check on the whole roastin ears thing? I haven't heard that one.

Autumnforest said...

Hey, I'm a good southerner. I still call it "dinner" (noon) and "supper" (evening).

Big Hair Envy said...

A "CYMLING" is a TYPE of squash. It's sort of flat and round, with a white or light green skin. My family always called them "simlins" too:)

Whenever we had a mess of roastin' ears for supper, we got to use those little two-pronged thingies to stick into the hard part at the ends of the ears. (They were shaped like little ears of corn. And ALWAYS yellow.) It was great fun! You could roll your roastin' ear around in butter, and never get your hands greasy!

Life with Kaishon said...

My Daddy is adamant that we call lunch, dinner and dinner, supper. He grew up Pennsylvania Dutch/ Mennonite. Whatever. I am happy to call supper, supper. I like when people look at me funny and say, "Who says that?" I just smile and walk away!

Karen Deborah said...

just call me to eat any way shape or form.

tj said...

...Hi CBW and CB Peeps! Yeah, like my grandma used to say, "you can call me anything you want, just don't call me late for supper" ;o)

...What kind of lunchbox did you carry in grade school CBW? Mine was a Flipper lunchbox... I loved Flipper.

...Btw, I'm with GJ up there about the calendar thing - great idea!

...Blessings all... :o)

Fire Byrd said...

If you live in England you can also have tea, as in gentile afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches. Or tea as in the evening meal.
Dinner is eaten out or by posh people.
Supper is what you have before bed, as in a warm drink and maybe a biscuit.
Here the names of meals relate to the class system.
Got here vis monkeys on the roof.
Love your photos they are spectacular.